Missouri Outdoors

Mark Twain Lake Information

Fishing Information

Mark Twain Lake Fishing InfoThe largest reservoir in northern central Missouri, Mark Twain Lake offers a wide selection of game fish species. Whether fishing from land or from a boat, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a big one, or a limit of big ones. The primary species that are found in Mark Twain Lake are crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and carp. Walleye and white bass are often caught as well around islands and windy points.

Crappie fishing at it's finest.  This lake is the destination for large stringers of crappie.  Water levels directly affect crappie fishing here.  Often in the spring and early summer when the rains come, the lake comes up and can become muddy.  Shad are their primary food and when the water gets high there is a huge spawning of shad.  They can be caugt right off the banks in the spring, but it is easier to find the fish with a boat.

Largemouth bass fishing is also very popular on Mark Twain lake which also hosts several fishing tournaments every year - although all of those are catch and release.

Catfishing is huge on the lake.  Every year you can see pictures of 50+ lb catfish at the local bait and tackle shops.  Channel, Blue and Flathead catfish all abound in the lake with good populations of each species.

White Bass are getting better and better each year.  While you don't see the sizes of white bass that some of the southern older lakes hold, the numbers are good and you can easily catch your limit.  Just follow the shad.  Throwing rooster tails or rattle trap type baits in busting shad an hour or so before dark will for sure put fish in your boat.

Walleye fishing in Mark Twain I hear used to be better.  We still see folks catching some nice 15-20 inch fish when fishing for white bass.  I would suspect this will improve over time.

Mark Twain Lake averages 1 mile wide and 29 ft deep with no private docks on the water and only two marinas.  Your not going to see a bunch of comericial property along the lake shore.  In fact after sunset - it's down right dark with nothing more than a blinking light on a bridge to guide you to the ramp. 

The lake has a lot of submerged timber and underwater structure - which is great for fish, but hard on boat props.  Get a good map and the area you are in and learn it.  There are many very shallow water areas that can be dangerous if you are unaware of them.

History Of Mark Twain Lake

The Joanna Dam project was first proposed in 1937 to solve flooding in the Salt River valley. In 1962 Congress authorized the multi-purpose project in the Flood Control Act of October 1962. Actual construction of the dam began in 1970 and was completed in 1983. The dam was renamed after the death of Clarence Cannon, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The dam impounds the upper Salt River about 63 miles upstream from its confluence with the Mississippi River. Approximately 165 miles of the river and its tributaries were inundated creating the 18,000-acre Mark Twain Lake. 450,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in the construction of 138-feet tall, 1,940-feet long dam.

Clarence Cannon was one of the prime influences in the realization of the Cannon Dam Project during his 42 years serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was actively engaged in farming in Lincoln County throughout his life. Following his death in 1964, the Joanna Dam was officially renamed to honor the man who supported the project.

The Clarence Cannon Dam was dedicated in 1984.The lake is named after the author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who often wrote many stories of his native Missouri.
 

Florida, Missouri is the home to the birthplace of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). There is a historical log cabin on display in the area. For more information contact the Mark Twain Birthplace at (573) 565-3449.  

A great historical video by the US Army Corps Of Engineers